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The Senate passed repairs for the COVID-19 payroll loan program

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The Senate passed repairs for the COVID-19 payroll loan program

Following complaints from business groups about changing regulations and confusing guidelines, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved an improvement to the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help small businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day, the US Chamber of Commerce urged the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee – tasked with overseeing trillions of taxpayer dollars provided by Congress to prop up the economy – to encourage greater clarity and consistency in the program. Others warn that some business owners worry that they might not meet the conditions under the revised regulations so that their loans are forgiven, as originally promised.

The Chamber Officer pointed out that the Ministry of Finance had changed the rules and guidelines governing loans repeatedly over the past eight weeks.

“Businesses, individuals and state and local governments must be held accountable for complying with rules and guidelines as they existed at the time of their actions, not as they were later modified,” said Neil Bradley, chief chamber policy officer.

Under the repairs of the new Senate, which had previously been passed by the House of Representatives, many of the concerns of business owners will be addressed. This will give businesses up to 24 weeks to spend money before having to return it. Previous regulations written by the Treasury and the Small Business Administration gave them only eight weeks to spend money, or were required to repay loans.

Improvements also relaxed the requirement that 75% of the loan be used for payroll, lowering the threshold to 60%.

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The next bill was given to President Trump to be signed.

More than two months after it was created to monitor the more than $ 2 trillion flowing into the economy due to the CARES Act, the committee held its first public organizing meeting Wednesday to get feedback from state and local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, health experts and watchdog groups government.

Bradley urged the committee to remember when overseeing that businesses, “must make decisions in an uncertain and ambiguous environment that is equally uncertain” as the government does, and must move quickly to participate in the newly created loan program without fully knowing what the regulations will be and how much they might be affected by economic closure.

Public anger that several large publicly traded companies received loans worth tens of millions of dollars prompted the Ministry of Finance to write new rules and issue warnings that loans of more than $ 2 million would be audited to determine whether companies really needed loans, and audits could potentially generate demands criminal.

Tony Wilkinson, president of National Assn. Guaranteed Government Lenders, pleading with the committee to intervene on popular PPP loans, said in his 30-year career he saw nothing like the chaotic launch of the loan program by the Ministry of Finance and Small Business Administration.

The guidelines of the agencies are “fragmented” and “let the lenders look for themselves” in developing the application process, and in some cases contrary to what is explicitly described by Congress as a parameter for loans, Wilkinson said.

“Is it any wonder why borrowers and lenders have questioned whether Treasury has made everyone fail?” Wilkinson said. “And you wonder why lenders are so worried about their PPP participation? And you wonder why borrowers of all sizes have returned their loans for fear of their own government? “

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The initial application rush resulted in the Small Business Administration processing more than one million loans worth a combined $ 350 billion in just 14 days. Interest in the second round of aid – $ 310 billion, which was quickly passed by Congress in April – has diminished, with $ 120 billion still not allocated. As of May 30, 4.4 million loans had been made between the two program rounds for a total of $ 510.2 billion.

Loans should be forgiven if the business retains its staff for eight weeks. But guidelines for asking for forgiven loans were not issued until weeks after many businesses took out loans. Recipient and Inspector General of Small Business Administration Mike Ware has sounded an alarm on the requirement that 75% of the loan go to payroll costs, rather than rent or other overhead costs, and that the total amount must be spent within eight weeks. In a report was released May 8, Ware warned that thousands of loan recipients would not be able to meet that standard, which was not required by Congress under the CARES Act.

Wilkinson told me about a small business that helped veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who received a $ 27,000 loan and worried that it might not be eligible for loan forgiveness. Business owners, who face the possibility of closure and are still required to repay loans, call the program “the devil knocked on the door when we went down, and unfortunately we let it in,” Wilkinson said.

Tim Delaney, president of the National Board of Nonprofits, also expressed disappointment at the “moving destination posts” that govern loans.

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“What will we fight? Because when we sign documents on a certain day, that’s what should be valid, contrary to these moving standards, “Delaney said.

The Committee has begun to increase its oversight activities, but it still lacks a leader. It had chosen acting Department of Defense Inspector General Glenn Fine to take over, but he became ineligible to serve when President Trump nominated a permanent replacement.

The Justice Department IG Michael E. Horowitz, in charge of electing leaders, holds positions in acting capacity. A Horowitz spokesman has not responded to repeated questions about when a new seat will be chosen.

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The future of the oceans is in the hands of the youth

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The future of the oceans is in the hands of the youth

“It’s in the hands of the young protect the planet and especially oceans“That was the main message. Youth and Innovation Forum during United Nations Ocean Conferenceon the beach of Carcavelos, Portugal.

The presence on the beach of actor Jason Momoa, known for his roles in Aquaman and the TV series Game of Thrones, is intended to convey to the younger generation the importance of combating climate change.

At the end of this meeting, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa issued a warning: “To be heard and to be important in the climate or in the oceans, they must fight and win in your name. be your main allies, but not the majority.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres gave a speech about my guilt. “Let me start with the words of the President of Portugal to apologize on behalf of my generation to your generation in connection with the state of the oceans, the state of biodiversity and the state of climate change,” António Guterres said.

The Oceans Conference will be held in Lisbon until the end of this week and will be attended by Heads of State and Government from all continents.

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.

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“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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